Irish trio take on US Amateur at Pinehurst

Purcell, Rafferty and Sugrue begin stroke play qualifying at US Amateur (12-19 August)

  • 12 August 2019

​Picture: Ireland's Caolan Rafferty at the US Amateur in Pinehurst | ©​ USGA/Chris Keane



Ireland trio Conor Purcell (Portmarnock), Caolan Rafferty (Dundalk) and James Sugrue (Mallow) are contesting the US Amateur Championship at Pinehurst.

After two rounds of stroke play qualifying, the top 64 players progress to the match play stages. Qualifying is played over the No. 2 and the No. 4 courses at Pinehurst.

The US Amateur field of 312 includes the best players from around the globe. Of the top 50 players in the World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR), 49 are competing. Purcell and Rafferty made the field via their world ranking while Sugrue gained an exemption by virtue of his victory at The Amateur Championship in June.

Yet an essential part of the U.S. Amateur is not just the top-ranked players but those who survived 36 holes of sectional qualifying to earn their place in the field. They know that if they make it through two rounds of stroke play to become one of the 64 seeds for match play, their dream of hoisting the Havemeyer Trophy is alive.

To watch the U.S. Amateur is to watch the game's future stars. The 2018 champion, Viktor Hovland, turned professional after this year's US Open at Pebble Beach and is working his way toward the PGA Tour. Recent champions Bryson DeChambeau (2015) and Matt Fitzpatrick (2013) are tour mainstays. The US Amateur champion and runner-up earn exemptions into the 2020 US Open at Winged Foot -- and for the first time, the champion won't have to remain an amateur to take advantage of that opportunity.​